Dance All Night: A Dance Off Holiday Novella

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

It wouldn't be a December romance review column without at least one holiday-themed happy ending. Alexis Daria's novella Dance All Night starts with a kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve. Jess Davenport and Nik Kovalenko's chemistry is instant, but shortly after, he hits the road as a professional dancer in a touring production, and she stays in L.A. for her gig on the reality show Dance Off. They meet again at a holiday party almost a year later. Sparks fly, of course.

But Jess is a total holiday scrooge. She doesn't do Christmas — her plans for the big day are spend it alone with her DVR. And she's pretty sure Nik is not the man for her; the last thing she needs is another guy who'll leave her. But Nik has changed, and he's ready to settle down with the woman he's been dreaming about all year. He asks for three dates to convince her to fall in love with Christmas — and him. The dates are romance novel-worthy, and Jess's feelings are complicated, but never fear: This a heartwarming novella that reminds us of the simple pleasures of baking cookies, frolicking in the snow or simply being with the ones you love.
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I was already a devotee of Alexis Daria's Dance Off series, so it didn't come as a surprise that I loved DANCE ALL NIGHT, the new holiday novella. It's a charming and warmhearted second chance romance between a ballroom dance champ who hates the holidays and a forever-single Broadway hotshot. The New Year's Eve deadline to make Jess believe in holiday magic (and, of course, Nik) is a particularly lovely touch.
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I'm a sucker for hero in pursuit stories and Alexis Daria has pushed all the right buttons for me in her new novella, Dance All Night. It's part of the Dance Off series but takes place away from the show with a holiday theme and two people who love dance and find themselves falling in love with each other.

Nik Kovalenko is the brother of reality show star Dmitri (from Dance with Me). He's a dancer in his own right, but used to touring with stage shows. Invited to a New Year's Eve party at his brother's place, his eyes are caught by the beautiful and talented ballroom dancer Jess Davenport, one of Dmitri's co-workers whom he's met a few times before. At the stroke of midnight, they share a sensual kiss, but since Nik will be leaving on tour the next day, it'll be a nice memory but nothing more.

The following winter, Nik is back. He's very interested in seeing Jess again, hoping she'd gotten the hint that he'd not forgotten her by 'liking' and commenting on her social media posts. When they meet up again at another dancer's holiday party, he tells her he wants to get to know her better. They make a deal to go on three dates, wherein Nik will try to prove that he's serious about staying, and about her.  Can he bring some holiday magic into Jess's life and give her a Christmas to remember? 

This is a really lovely holiday romance! Like I said at the start, heroes in pursuit, the nice guys who show by their actions even more than their words that they are head over heels for their partner are my jam. Nik plans their three dates with care, cajoling Jess to get out of her comfort zone and try new things but never being pushy or heavy handed. Though there is a strong attraction between them, things move at a slow pace, as Nik wants to show Jess that he's not after her for sex but for everything good that comes in a relationship. Both are professional dancers and used to the public spotlight, so with the okay from Jess, Nik shows that he's been paying attention to her interests by pulling her into a Lindy Hop, her favorite type of swing dance during an outdoor jazz performance. 

	'Dancing with Nik was like being caught in a bubble – just the two of them, with a perfect 	almost telepathic connection between their bodies and the music. He communicated moves to 	her through the tension in his fingers holding hers, the touch of his hand on her upper back, and 	shifts in balance. Dance created a language only spoken between the partners, as intimate as it 	was invigorating.' 

Though Jess is charmed by Nik, she's also wary. She isn't interested in committing to someone who's just going to run off again. She's happy and settled in L.A. and doesn't have the wanderlust that Nik has. The more that she feels herself growing attached to him, the more she worries about the effect once he leaves, even though he's told her that he'll stick around if she gives him a reason to do so. Her feelings about relationships stem from her own upbringing, with parents who fought and a father who would abandon them time and again, often around the holidays when the stress would get too great. It's why she hates the Christmas season and also why she has a strained relationship with her parents who have since reconciled and wish she would come home to Chicago to visit more often. As New Year's Eve approaches again, Jess will have to decide whether she's ready to accept what Nik is trying to offer. 

There's a lot to really enjoy about this story but the characters really are the stars. Jess is a black woman with a love of the music and dance of those who paved the way for her success like Billie Holiday and Norma Miller. She gives back to the community by volunteering for a group home for at-risk girls where her best friend Naomi, a counselor, works. There are several scenes with Naomi and Jess that show their close friendship. As for Nik, besides clearly being a wonderful, attentive man, he's also got a close relationship with his parents and his brother Dmitri. He's successful and talented and fun to be with. He's proud of his Ukrainian heritage. Their chemistry eventually leads to some sexy scenes, made more intimate by the friendship that Jess and Nik have developed and the real affection between them. With its broad holiday theme and some really funny scenes (reindeer boob comes to mind), as well as a slow burn sexy romance, Dance All Night is a new favorite!  

This review has been posted at All About Romance and feedback updated with the link. A link to the review has been posted at Goodreads.
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4.5 stars. 

This novella ticks all my boxes;
Multicultural - the Ukranian Christmas traditions rock ✅
Dance (the lindy hop sequences are awesome) ✅
Made me laugh ✅
Made me cry (poor Nik) ✅
Made me root for the hero and heroine ✅
Romantic, creative, sexy beta hero (those dates are inventive) ✅
Independent, loaded with personality, sexy heroine ✅
Steamy sexy times 🔥

I really enjoyed this novella, the first book by Alexis Daria I’ve ever read. I have the first two books but haven’t had the time to read them yet. As soon as I’m done with my ARCs, I’ll pick them up. I really like her writing. 

I like so many things about this book and only have a handful of minor issues: 
- Nik is too perfect
- I feel that Jess’ gesture in the end is not grand enough to match everything Nik did for her. 
- main conflict could have been avoided and there was actually an opportunity for it, but it went to a different direction than where I would have liked it to be. 
- Jess’ epiphany came too fast and so did the ending. 

That’s just really nitpicking. I highly recommend this book, especially this season.
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This was the first book I read in the Dance Off series, and I absolutely loved it! The characters are fun and interesting, and the plot moves along at a great pace for a short novella. I especially loved the different backgrounds of the main characters and how their cultures are built in as part of the story. I'll be looking for more from this author!
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Dance All Night is a sweet Christmas novella in Daria’s Dance Off series. I really like the dance world in these books. In this case, there’s a lovely scene where the hero and heroine the Lindy Hop. 
The characters were interesting. I would have liked them to be fleshed out a bit more, but that’s always a bit of an issue I have with novellas. The same can be said for the romance: it all moves fairly quickly. The one thing I didn’t like was that Nik didn’t share his decision about the job offer for such a long time. Now it just created unnecessary conflict that could’ve been resolved with a quick conversation.
There’s one thing that bothers me about this series, and I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is. Somehow it makes me feel as if I’m reading a children’s book. With the first book, I thought it was caused by the competition plot line, but this book gave me the same feeling despite being set outside the competition season. It may have to do with Daria’s style of writing because she does seem to explain a little too much from time to time. No matter the reason, it really takes away some of my enjoyment of reading these books. Pity, because I as said before, I really like the setting.
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This was an adorable and sexy Christmas novella that left me smiling.  I enjoyed the storyline and the characters and would love to read more from them.  I thought this story was sweet and fun and anything to do with dance I am in.  I hope to read more in this series and from this author.
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I think that this is a delightful little holiday novella that will please fans of low angst contemporary (hi, waves own hand). I do think that there was a little too much off screen feelings developed (in the intervening year between when they first meet & the meat of this story gets going, the hero has fallen in love with the heroine with very little interaction to support it). That said, I thought the 3 date structure was a smart one and the characters were imminently likeable.  Would recommend for the holiday season!! (Also, I appreciate that this holiday novella was ACTUALLY published at the end of year- what's with all these holiday novellas released in October??)
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Solid 3.5, rounded up to a 4. Cute, and easy read. A bit too insta-love for me, and I would have liked to see a bit more interaction/relationship building between the two characters but I flew thru it on my bus ride home with no regrets.


At this point I think it’s safe to say I’ll read anything Alexis Daria writes.
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If you're looking for a christmassy, adorable and beautiful romance to spend the holidays with, this might be the one you're looking for. It has a hero who loves Christmas and who's trying to get the heroine to feel the joy of it with him with three dates before New Years Eve, when she decides if she wants to be with him or not. Every time I read one of her books, I remember that Alexis Daria is an incredible writer. She has a wonderful way of portraying realistic and relatable characters that you root for but who have to have a lot of growing up to do during the duration of the book. The dynamics that they had especially during their first date when you can see them together bantering back and forward and dancing and enjoying what they do were gorgeous and I think the beginning of their story contributes a lot to those dynamics. The fact that they meet during New Years and then meet again next December but stayed following each other's social media and career was adorable. 

The main thing that kept me rooting for this couple is how the hero wasn't playing games. He wanted to show her his change during the past year and knew how to do it. He was honest and direct and he also was rooting for her and themselves even though she wasn't in the best place mentally to do the same yet. This is exactly what you would want if you're looking for fluff and something inspiring for Christmas. It's full of joy and the desire that you have to connect with people during the holidays. It's realistic and charming. It's a New Years kiss, a Christmas cookie, a romance that you look for. All in one.
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This was such a CHARMING read. If you like the holiday made for TV movies, but wish they weren't so chaste, this is the book for you. I really really love the plot and how the characters relationship developed. Nik is amazing and the way he sets about wooing Jess is perfect. Jess is great too, I understand her hang ups and why she is so reluctant. It makes perfect sense. I wish maybe she'd gotten to confront her parents and talk it out a little bit. But I get it. I haven't read the second book so seeing the hero/heroine of it here wasn't as special as it could've been had I done so, my fault. But I did enjoy seeing the couple from the first book, which I have read, in a scene. Back to the plot, I really enjoyed the set up. Three dates to win her over & make her love the holidays. Again, the word I keep coming back to is charming. Nik is charming. Jess is charmed by him. The dates are charming. Everything is sweet and I smiled a lot while reading. I even enjoyed the momentary angst. I like how they both made steps to get on the same page. It was fair and no one was made the bad guy.
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This book is exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.  Work has been rough lately and being able to escape into this book on the train ride home was just the thing.

The good:

- Women of color written by a woman of color - excellent. (The author is Latinx.) The heroine has curly hair and it comes up several times in the plot, as in, 'Hey, I'm coming over to sleep tonight and I'm bringing my satin pillowcase.'
    
- Nik is probably the sweetest hero I've ever read. Not calculating sweet, or saccharine sweet, but - he thought of and did xyz because his freakin' soul is just sweet. I'd give examples but I don't want to spoil anything because:
    
- The book is novella length and perfectly fits its pages. It's all A plot, no subplot, and the story doesn't feel stretched out or rushed. All of the emotional beats are here.
    
- There's a nice dose of holiday spirit, from sweater parties to family dinners. Nik's family immigrated to the US from Ukraine and I enjoyed learning about Eastern Orthodox holiday traditions.

- The Dance Off isn't filming but there is still dancing, yea! Nik is a Broadway dancer more than a singer/actor, and the scenes where they dance as a couple are lovely.

The not-so-good:

- The only thing I can think of is that Nik may be a little too perfect, but it's not a thought that crossed my mind while reading. He's the right kind of perfect for me.

A wonderful read to heal your heart and get into the holiday spirit, and the perfect book at the perfect time for me. I'm excited for the next book in the series, slated to come out in 2019, yea!
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My goodness, this was absolutely adorable. Yes, the plot is a bit ridiculous. Yes, the big misunderstanding could have been solved with a 2-question conversation. But, it’s just so darn fun and adorable that even while I noticed these problems, I was having too much fun to actually care. I’m a pretty big fan of Ms. Daria’s previous books in the Dance Off series, but I think this would work perfectly well as a standalone.

Nik and Jess first met at a New Year’s Eve party, and, on a whim, kiss at midnight. Something about Jess sticks with Nik, though, so when he meets her again nearly a year later at a Christmas party, he’s determined to try out a relationship with her, but Jess has her doubts – he loves being part of a traveling company, while she’s happy to be settled in LA. Though Jess thinks this is just another game to Nik, she agrees to three holiday-themed dates, thinking it’ll at least be fun. After them dancing on their first date goes viral, Jess starts to think that maybe there is something to this whole relationship thing. Can Nik convince Jess he’s the real deal, or will their chance at happiness end at midnight on New Year’s Eve?

“The adoration in his face scared her a little. What did you do when you’d never bothered to imagine the man of your dreams, yet he showed up anyway?”


I adored Nik and Jess. Nik is all sweetness and Christmas cheer (including traditions from his native Ukraine) while Jess is the scrooge, convinced that she’s just another of Nik’s adventures and that once his wanderlust kicks in again, he’ll be gone. Nik arranges three near-perfect holiday dates (snow in LA! cookie baking! REAL snow!) that even Jess, insecure and hurting from being the “weird” kid who loved ballroom dance more than pop stars, feels like she fits in to the holiday magic. It’s sweet, it’s fluffy, and it’s like the perfect Christmas sugar cookie, a little crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, covered in yummy icing.

“For him, that was the true meaning of the Christmas season. It wasn’t about religion, or spending money, or even about the particular holiday of Christmas itself. It was about connection. The days were getting longer again, bit by bit, and Christmas was about opening yourself up to that light and letting people in.”


Overall – if you’re looking for a quick holiday read that’ll leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy and happy, this is the book for you!

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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Loved this holiday themed novella set in the Dance Off world.
Nik and Jess shared a memorable New Years kiss but then parted ways.
Fast forward nearly a year on and neither can quite forget the other. When Nik makes his way back to Jess, it's with a determination to win her heart.
Jess is a little jaded and finds the holiday season difficult to navigate. Happiness and force cheer aren't for her. Nik has three dates in order to change her heart and mind. My goodness does he set about winning her heart. Swoon 💕
Of course the story is sentimental and sweet, I'd be crying false advertising if it wasn't! Holiday stories are meant to be unrealistic and overtly romantic, that's why I love them.
As always Alexis Daria writes with flare and confidence. I enjoy her Dance Off world very much.
Can't wait to see what she brings us in 2019.
Hugely enjoyable.
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Jess is a bit of a Scrooge and doesn’t enjoy Christmas as most people do. Jess had dated some losers and when things started to get serious they dumped her. She was determined not to date anyone in the industry again. Jess was a professional ballroom dance and was on The Dance off. Jess meets Nic on New Years Eve at midnight  and they kiss.  It was a great kiss but the next day he went away for work. Nic was a Broadway hotshot.  The next year they meet again at an ugly Christmas sweater party. Nic used to love traveling and adventure but over the last year he has decided he is ready to settle down. Nic never forgot Jess and now wants to see if they could make it and settle down together. But Jess doesn’t believe it. Jess figures even though Nic wants to date her now toward a possible future , he will leave her eventually for the next big thing. Nic has three dates to prove Jess wrong and make her love the holidays despite her past that made he like Scrooge as far as the holidays were concerned. 
I liked this book a lot. It was a romantic, quick,  easy read. This is also a novella but has everything it needs in it so you don’t feel something is missing because of the length of the book. I got a little annoyed with Jess at times. I liked how Nic was always honest with her. I also liked that I learned a lot about dance. I really enjoyed the plot and pace. I advise you to read the previous books in this series first for a smoother read. I did love the dance scenes. I loved the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend it.
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This confection of a novella set in Alexis Daria's Dance Off series universe is a must purchase for all collections. It's Dancing With the Stars x Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas with a dash of Scrooged!
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I love this series so much! And I love holiday themed romance, so I really enjoyed this. The two characters are really developed for a novella, and it felt like a full story. I loved the concept of 3 dates, and the tie-in of other Dance-Off characters.
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Alexis Daria delivers on such a generously lovely story that swept me off my feet. I felt wooed by Nik and Jess' interactions. They're so lovely together. She's a scrooge and he's very romantic. It all made me feel all kinds of good things. For a person who doesn't really celebrate Christmas, I realted to Jess. But I adored the dates. The description put me in their shoes. I wanted to whisk Jess off her feet alongside Nik. She's such a strong character and I loved that Nik merely adored her and didn't try to "change" her.
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4.5 stars — OMG, I LOVED THIS BOOK!! I was sucked in right from the beginning, and it just had so much of what I love in a Christmas novella!

First, I LOVED our characters! Jessie made me want to smack her a few times, because she was so hard-headed and took forever to see things “the right way”, but she was still such a fantastic character. She was sassy, dry-witted, and I LOVED the things that she loved. I can profess to having fallen in love with ballroom dancing, and all the swing fun, even though I never got good at the dancing it part (I have like zero grace). She was also really vulnerable, lonely and damaged. And I did feel for her damage, it was just hard not to want to rush her healing. I also loved that she was black. I know this sounds weird, but it’s fun learning even little things about characters of another race, like how she talked about taking care of her hair and stuff. It doesn’t always have to be big stuff, the little stuff opens my eyes too.

And OMG Nik. Nik is my new book boyfriend. Nik was the sweetest, most caring, most adorable book boy. He wasn’t beta necessarily, but he definitely wasn’t alpha. I LOVED his blushes. OMG I loved his blushes. And you could genuinely feel how much he’d fallen for Jess over the year, and how sincerely he wanted to pursue something more with her. I loved the way he loved his family, and how he was just a natural caretaker who instinctively wanted to help his loved ones. He was attentive, thoughtful, laidback, and he had an adorable sense of adventure and fun. Watching him share his love of Christmas with Jess just put me in the mood for Christmas myself!

And the two of them together just had a natural butterfly inducing chemistry. I kind of loved that they started slow, and we got to see them get to know each other first. It gave me all those new crush type vibes. And then when it transitioned to steamier? Um yes please! Although why I had to be on a plane at those points, god only knows…

I LOVED the glimpses of other characters we got to see. For those who have read the series, it was super fun to check in with our other two couples (and they made me howl with those cookies). I also loved meeting Naomi and seeing more of Rhianne (though maybe too much of Rhianne…;) ).

So yeah. Total Christmas hit. Total Dance Off series hit. I can’t wait for more from this author!!
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Oh, I loved this novella. This series is fantastic top to bottom, and this novella is an excellent, cheery addition to the series. 

I often feel in romance we get that "emotionally distant" hero, but in this case, NIk is a romantic and he falls head over heels for Jess. She is the one who holds back, afraid of getting hurt. He dares her to go on 3 holiday themed dates so he can prove himself to her, and the entire book is just top to bottom charming. Both Jess and NIk felt like fully-formed characters, and although it's a literal whirlwind courtship, I found myself rooting for them the entire way. 

Exactly what I want out of a Christmas novella.
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